After the death of Anthony Bourdain I’ve been hearing the word ‘suicide contagion’ being bandied around as if it were a Meme or a Gif. I don’t like the sound of it, no one does. Yet despite its shallow nature t does bring up some deep questions about human nature.
In the late 18th century the first case of copycat suicide plagued Europe. Known as ‘Werther Fever’ after the Goethe novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, in which the main character shoots himself with a pistol after being rejected by the woman he loved. The book was subsequently banned in several countries because of the suicide trend it had inspired in youths.
Human beings are a social animal. And this is a Pandora’s Box of a gift and a curse. It has enabled us to create skyscraping cities and reach the edges of our solar system – but it leaves…
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